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Where eagles fly

Local Eagle Scout remembers mentor, makes special gesture
Most people are fortunate enough to have someone in their life who leaves such a prominent mark that in their absence a void is left. That’s what Ennis High School Junior Stephen Rainey felt when during a recent Eagle Scouts ceremony he awarded a special pin to the wife of his mentor Steven Eberle.
Eberle, who passed away before Rainey completed requirements necessary to earn his Eagle pin, was a constant positive influence on him and encouraged the young man to continue in scouting.
“Steve was such a great guy and so important in my life that it just seemed right to remember him on my special day,” Rainey said.
Eberle was a troop leader, and a first cousin to Rainey’s father; he even shared the same first and middle name as Rainey.
“Steve was great with kids in his scouting troop and encouraged them to keep with it,” wife Geri Eberle said. “He had a group that went into their first camping trip grumbling and not wanting to be there and he turned those kids around into a group that showed up to every meeting. He knew the program was a great one and he believed in it and the boys.”
Rainey, who said the Eberles thought of him as their own son, felt a special connection with his namesake from the first time they met. Their relationship was one based on mutual interests but the pair’s bond went beyond that.
“I just can’t put into words how my husband felt about Stephen,” Eberle said. “There was just an instant connection from the first time he picked Stephen up as a child. The more time went by, the more they had in common and the closer the two became. It really meant a lot to my husband that Stephen continued to succeed in the Scout program and he would have been very proud to have been at the Eagle pin ceremony.”
Rainey said he’s undecided in his plans for the future but knows one thing for certain –- he hopes the characteristics he admired in his mentor are what people see in him.
“Steve was a loving, generous, overall good person who was an excellent leader,” Rainey said. “He showed all the qualities of being a scout while leading by example. I hope as I get older and go out into the world, people can say the same of me.”
For Eberle’s wife Geri, seeing Rainey get his Eagle pin was the fulfillment of a promise he made her when her husband passed away, but she had no idea about Rainey’s plan to give her the pin at the ceremony.
“I knew when Stephen received his Eagle pin, I would be there because my husband would have been so proud of him and being there was my way of showing that,” she said. “However, I had no idea I would accept it on behalf of my late husband. It was a shock and an honor to receive it because it is not given out that often and it really made a special day even more memorable.”
Eberle had to battle the odds to make it to Texas in time for the ceremony as recently cancelled flights by American Airlines caused a five-hour trip from California to drag out over 20 hours.
“It took longer to get there but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” she said.
As for Rainey’s scouting career, he wants to stay involved for as long as he can. He encourages others to participate in the program and experience new things.
“Scouting is a fun program that allows you to learn a lot,” he said. “Earning merit badges teaches you about so many different things and it is great to be around people that are working on the same thing you are. It is a great experience for those willing to try.”

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Posted by on Apr 22 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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